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. hello, i'm wolf blitzer reporting, we are watching the breaking news coverage in the ukraine and the dramatic fallout that's going on. this is a situation that's intention right now. we have just learned that secretary of state john kerry spoke with ukraine's acting president, all this, the latest in a series of dramatic events that have been unfolding, we
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have our correspondents around the world following all of the developme developments. elise, what's the latest we're hearing on the secretary of state john kerry, what is he doing. >> reporter: meeting with his a advisors, speaking with his advisors, wolf, he's in boston right now but we're told that he participated in this white house meeting of principals, the president's top national security advisors via videoconference, he also reached out to the ukrainian interim president, basically to show u.s. support for ukraine not only with russian troops entering the area, but also with this political upheaval that's going on for several months, culminating in the ousting of president yatsenyuk, right now the u.s. has to show support, even as it answers russian military moves, it can also show
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it's pressure on russia by reporting -- ukraine is very fragile right now, it needs all this natural gas. by showing support for the ukraine, that's putting pressure on washington. >> fred, is standing by what's the latest there? >> reporter: the late zest that the russians are still waiting to see what if any troops movements they're going to see. the latest that we're hearing from the kremlin is that apparently at this point in time it's not clear what a decision has been made to use those forces yet. prime minister medvedev was on the phone with the leadership in ukraine, he assured them at this point in time the kremlin has not decided whether or not to actually deploy the forces that were ok'd today by the parliament, those forces don't name
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seem to be on the way yet. the russians have enough forces in crimea to control the situation there, they're in control of the two airports and many of the government buildings and that is something that's causing a lot of the international anger here which russia just seems to be brushing off at this point in time. we keep saying again and again, it seems that the russians in crimea is so important that russia is not listening to what the white house is saying, what the international community is saying and what the u.n. is saying as well. these tensions have been building over the past couple of days. one of the things that christianne said before and is interestinging that really plays into russian fears in ukraine. what you hear again and again is that the russians, or the people of russian heritage there are very afraid that they might lose special rights, they might be
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marginali marginalizes. lennon's statues were being torn down, there were motions to tear down now, statues that were put up during the times of the soviet union. laws that were repealed that gives special status to the russian language so there really hasn't been much on the part of the russian government both in crimea and other parts of the countries, you have been hearing statements for the president and the new prime minister saying that ukraine has this new european way that it wants to get away from it's ties with russia and that certainly isn't something that has helped the situation very much and certainly isn't something also that was received very well in moscow and might have also fuelled the tensions as well, wolf. >> good point, fred, reporting from moscow, let's go to the white house right now, our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is standing by. jim, there were important meetings in the west wing of the white house, we saw the top national security advise scores
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leafing the west wing of the white house. i assume they'll be issuing a statement or someone will be going before the cameras, what are you hearing? >> reporter: and this is eerily similar to when the president was weighing whether to use military force against syria, there were some tense moments over here at the white house on some weekends as you will'll recall, wolf, and these principal meetings do occur from time to time. it does appear that one occurred this afternoon but the white house has to officially congrfi that mississippi t-- that that s the case. the chairman of the joint chiefs, martin dempsey. so it does a appear that senior officials have been meeting with
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the president here about this situation in ukraine. and you know, wolf, you've been talking about options a that the white house has available to it, options that the president has available to him. he talks about cost to vladimir putin, cost to russia if they decide to go ahead and invade ukraine. they're still trying to ascertain what they're doing in crimea, but the white house at this point is only willing to say that it's looking at its options, it's trying to decide what to do if this does get to a situation that's going from bad to worse, we heard from senior administration officials say last night that the u.s. is evaluating whether or not the u.s. will be involved in the g-8 summit that's scheduled for sochi, later on in june, as to what might happen after that, we just don't know at this point so that's what we're waiting to find out at the white house, what the president will say next. we suspect we know what's going on, but they haven't confirmed
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it just yet. >> i assume they will fairly soon, i know they're in touch with officials over there, they'll make a decision on how to respond to this escalating crisis. jim acosta, thanks very much. let's go to kiev right now, that's the capital of ukraine. we're hearing these ominous reports that the you cukrainian military is going to a higher state of alert based on these provocations, they call them provocations coming from moscow? >> reporter: that's exactly right a and it's actually the highest level of alert and readiness, they're saying that the morale among the troops is high and that they're ready for any sort of provocation from moscow. although that being said, the prime minister did talk with his counterpart in russia to try to ease tensions and the russian prime minister dmitry medvedev
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says that russia hasn't decided to use further force in ukraine, but that is still an option. also the chief of ukraine's navy also had a conversation with his counter part to deescalate the tensions around a naval base in the crimea that is controlled by ukraine and they said that that has also taken place. but there are high security, they said, arrange critical infrastructu infrastructure, that being nuclear power plants in ukraine and they said any sort of military intervention would be dealt with swiftly and that would end any sort of relationship between ukraine and russia. >> let's be blunt about this, ian, they would be no match to the russian military, the russians are so much more powerful. >> reporter: well, that's exactly right. if you look at the airplanes,
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the size of their tanks, artillery, even their military budgets, it's just a fraction of what russia has. russia has right now 150,000 troops on military exercise, that's equivalent to amount of troops that the u.s. had at the height of the war in iraq. it's definitely a lot larger force than the ukraine yaian military, but they said they are ready, if you look, the ukraine was ready to have a guerrilla warfare against the russians, that would be more the likely hood, you're rights, ukraine couldn't go blow for blow with russia. >> let's hope it doesn't come down to any of this, as the u.s. secretary general ban ki-moon's spokesman, as he said, cooler heads hopefully will prevail all around, this is a moment where
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intense diplomacy will get underway and resolve this situation without violence. we're going to get back to you, we'll continue to watch what's going on in ukraine, the fallout, we'll see what the white house does as far as issuing some sort of statement. much more breaking news right after this. c? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security for just $29.99 a month. with limited availability in select markets. ♪ afghanistan, in 2009. orbiting the moon in 1971. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection.
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side effects may include headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. if you have persistent diarrhea, contact your doctor right away. other serious stomach conditions may exist. avoid if you take clopidogrel. for many, relief is at hand. ask your doctor about nexium. just moments ago, a little while ago, even as the united nations security council lz meeting in emergency section, we heard a statement read by the secretary general's spokesman. >> rapidly unfolding events in ukraine, including developments in crimea and is gravely concerned about the dee fior ra
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of the --ful respect for and preservation of, sovereignty and territorial independence of ukraine. he calls for an immediate dialogue to solve the current crisis. the secretary general will be speaking to president vladimir putin shortly about the situation in ukraine. as the secretary general is now flying to europe, he's called for the deputy secretary general to brief the u.n. security council on the events in the ukraine. >> let's get some perspective on what's going on, joining us now, nicholas burns, he's on the phone, he's a professor of the harvard law school. give us some perspective right now, you have seen a lot of these tense moments
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internationally over the years, how big of a deal is this? >> this is a major international event, wolf, it's a major challenge to european security and to think of it, one of the great positive developments in the last three years was the end of communism in europe and the creation of a free democratic europe. what putin has done by going into crimea and expangding his presence into the eastern part of the ukraine. >> we know that the ukrainian defense minister, we just reported a little while ago, he says that the ukrainian military now is on the, quote, highest state of military readiness. is it really realistic that there could be military confrontation between ukrainian forces and invading russian forces? >> reporter: i don't think either side wants that and i think what the president and his advisors are trying to think about is two things, how do you drive up the cost to putin and how do you limit putin to go no
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further than he has already gone in crimea. give him some good advice, which would be restraint, don't take on the russian military unless they think twice about it. but also give them substantial economic support, stand by them, get the imf in there to give them short-term economic stability and there ought to be some kind of dramatic signal by the major foreign ministers of europe, and shicning an international spotlight on putin. the critontribut we need to cha there's a lot the administration can do to orchestrate at least an attempt to limit putin and drive up the cost. >> we just got a statement from the chairman of the house armed services committee, and he's saying this, among other things, he's saying vladimir putin's imperialist aspirations are a
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throw back to the last century, he's violated the freedom of all ukrainians and their 20-year international commitment to respect the existing borders of the ukraine. the rhetoric on all sides seems to be escalating in a rather dangerous direction. >> there's a shock for the international system. we thought the cold war was over, we thought it was in the distant historical past. and an attempt by the russian federation essentially to divide a sovereign nation state in europe and that simply can't stand. and so the last thing the united states would want to do would be to provoke any kind of conference, to see the u.s. pursue a diplomatic path. but we can limit putin and we can certainly drive up the cost to him, make this painful for him and hopefully preserve the integrity of the rest of ukraine and help that state move forward towards the presidential
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elections. all is that is in play, but it does require clear leadership by the united states and germany and some of the other european countries. >> our jim acosta reporting that the u.s. may cancel its participation in the g-8 summit meeting in sochi russia scheduled for june. i aassume some others in the european union will as well. >> reporter: it is important that we send a signal of no business as usual. it might make sense to decide to kick russia out of the g-8. president clinton was the one and he had good reason to do this when he worked with president yeltsin, expanding from g-8 to g-7. president clinton gave substantial support to the
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russian federation. but you see putin acting in a way that -- so we certainly cannot somewhere -- i would be surprised if president obama did not announce that today or in the coming days that he's not going to sochi and i think the european allies should support him on that. >> that goes with the cold war who would have thought things would be unfolding as quickly as they are right now. nick, thanks very much for offering some good perspective on what's going on. our own christianne amanpour is standing by in longdon. but first, today's cnn hero, he's changing the lives of families. meet this very special man. i'm emotional right now. i'm excited. i'm so glad things are starting to turn around.
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the wrarhetoric clearly escalating right now, we have just heard a very powerful statement from the acting prime minister of ukraine, yatsenyuk saying that any military intervention by the russians on the ukraine would not be legitimate. the acting prime minister of ukraine saying ukraine is, quote, ready to guard ukrainie ian sovereignty. such intervention under these
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circumstances will be the beginning of -- a powerful statement from the acting prime minister, christianne, this situation, rhetorically speaking and what's happening on the ground clearly getting worse. >> well, interestingly, he made that statement to the nation, you know, they're burning the midnight oil as you can imagine in kiev and all over the world in these capitals. yatsenyuk had just talked to the russian prime minister dmitry medved medvedev. he kept that possibility on the table. so clearly a war of nerves, muscle flexing still going on, yes, he was very brave, yet yatsenyuk saying we will defend ourselves and this could be the beginning of a war but you only have to look at what he did back in 2008 to know that this is a
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nonstarter, that for the ukrainians it would be completely and utterly catastrophic. clearly what's necessary right now and the u.n., the u.s., clearly here in britain, the russian authorities, the russian ambassador and nato trying to figure out how best to deal with this, but diplomacy is what everybody hopes will persuade the russians that a, that -- that it would only cause pain to russia and there are many levers the west can pull, including trade, commercial and other such ties that could negatively affect russia, it's currency and it's standing in the world. >> a lot of people have tweeted to me, christianne, and have sent me e-mails saying that international law is not necessarily something high on the priority list for the
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russian president vladimir putin. he's reading international law a very different way than most other international legal scholars would be. so given the treatry that russia has with the ukraine. >> reporter: the treaty is not ambiguous, it's in black and white and it was signed in 1994 called the budapest agreement and that is what russia signed with the u.s. and the uk and it was about ukraine and it was about respecting ukraine's sovereignty and it's -- in other words there was under no circumstance of international law is ability or the legitimacy to allow any foreign nation, which russia is to intervene militarily. whatever people think the russians think, that would put them outside the bounds of international law and which that should come international consequences. although they have flexed their
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muscles very strongly now and done things without the u.s. and international intelligence not picking it up until it was too late. >> crithanks very much. we're going to continue to follow the breaking news out of ukraine and what the world is seeing right now, we'll take a quick break, we'll be right back.
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you could potentially put up a defensive patrol, defense air patrol that will fly over ukrainian territory, in order to prevent the russians from doing the same thing, that will be a very risky move and it's within the realm of possibility, it's not something we should do but it's something we should do if
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possible. >> for the u.s. to do that, that would really be from the russian view, what they would regard of their own sphere of influence. >> absolutely, and that's why something like that would only have to be handled with a very, very carefully considered approach diplomatically and it would be something that would only be done in private, at least at first, but it is something that technically is possible and it's something that the united states and nato should at least be prepared to do before they actually engage in further discussions with the russians at this point. >> colonel, if there are 150,000 russian troops now engaged in war games or exercises, military exercises along the border with ukraine right now, u.s. intelligence, they're watching closely, they have capabilities to see what's going on and get a pretty precise understanding of what their intentions might be, is that right?
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>> oh, absolutely, and one of the things u.s. intelligence does very well is it picks up on things that are already going on, so of course, that speaks a little bit to christianne amanpour's report a little bit earlier when she talks about the intelligence services not seeing this coming or not really anticipating what's happening, we are definitely very good at picking up what's going on right now, there are 150,000 russian troops that are on the eastern ukrainian border, that are definitely in the camera lenses of satellites and other sensors they have that can take a look at what they're doing. >> so just briefly, give us a sense when the chairman of the joint chiefs, general martin dempsey participates in this west wing meeting with the president, the top national security adviser, what do they want to know from him? >> what they want to know is
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preparedness. the other thing that they'll ask him is if the u.s. military is ready to go to watch something like this from an intelligence perspective or intentionally to interve intervene, they'll ask what the -- military is capable of doing of the other nations, particularly of the nato nations, nations that are on the ukrainian border on the western side, and they will ask, are you going to be able to be working with these people and have you spoken with your russian counterparts? because of the military tensions that we have dealt with in the past 24 years or so have actually been resolved in military talks on the other side. so they will be asking those questions and they will want the military to be prepared, but that doesn't mean they're going to use the military to use force in this particular case. >> thank you for joining us. >> it's my pleasure, wolf, thanks for having me.
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>> tense situation seemingly escalating right now. we'll go live to the united nations, we'll go live to crimea, much more breaking news coverage right after this. hey guys! sorry we're late. did you run into traffic? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security for just $29.99 a month. with limited availability in select markets. ♪ with limited availability in select markets. hey, buddy? oh, hey, flo. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive.
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the united nations security council is meeting in an emergency session in ukraine today, meeting after russia has called for military force in the yik crane. you can crane. first to you, richard, what do we know about this meet ageing the security council? >> the security council is still meeting, it's been a couple of hours, they seem to be divided on whether they should go into these formal meetings in front of tv cameras with definitely heated speeches. russia opposes the agenda of the
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meeting, he says the ambassador says it has gone off the track while the u.s. and the other western countries and the ukraine are in favor of having these speeches. they're never going to -- russia, a permanent member of the u.n. security council. f f >> the crimea crisis the center of what's going on. diane is standing by with the latest from there. what is the latest, diane? >> reporter: the meeting at the capital is pretty much controlled by various groupings, you have prorussia militias, then you have in nonbody of unidentified -- look like military uniforms, they're organized like the military,
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they are controlling regional government buildings here. there are many -- there is a lot of speculation in the broader world of course that these are russian military, whoever they are. they are very well organized and act like a military and i did speak to one of them today, asked him where are you from? he said from russia, so the question is, has the russian parliament just approved what is happening on the ground anyway? if there are this large number of russian troops already here, will president putin send more in? and what you have effectively is a situation where these forces are massaging a pro russian agenda with the view at the end of this month, to give the people of crimea is choice whether they stay with the ukraine or whether they form their own autonomous state. >> diana, thanks very much. richard roth, thanks very much.
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over at the white house, we're learning more about this meeting of the president's top national security advisors, what was discussed, what was on the table, we'll be right back. hey guys! sorry we're late. did you run into traffic? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life.
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house important jim acosta, we saw them all leave the white house, including the head of national intelligence, the cia director, the defense secretary, what else are we learning? >> senior administration official just told me, wolf, that this was a meeting of the national security team at the white house earlier today, it was on the situation in the ukraine and they were discussing policy options about where to go from here. one interesting thing we should note, is that the president has been brought up to speed and been brought up to the situation in the ukraine by his national security adviser susan rice and his national security team, but that is only what the administration is saying right now in terms of what happened a over at the white house in terms of earlier today, we're going to just find out as the hours and days go on as to why this meeting took place the way it took place. i did run into the senior counselor for the president,
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jo jo john pedesta, i briefly asked him, is this a test for president obama and president putin's relationship, is this a test for the u.s. and russia, i suppose that might be an obvious question, and he yes, the administration is confirming this meeting did take place. you saw chuck hagel the defense secretary, james clapper director of national intelligence, chairman of the joint chiefs, martin dempsey and john brennan the director of the cia leaving the white house around 1:00 this afternoon. the president evidently was not at that meeting, wolf. >> is there any indication, jim, that we might be hearing from the president at some point later today? yesterday he walked into the briefing room at around 5:00 p.m. eastern time, previously unscheduled, wanted to make a statement. made a three-minute statement, directly suggesting there would be costs to the russians if they were to intervene militarily.
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any indications from the white house that could happen again today? >> reporter: we're anticipating further updates as the day goes on, wolf, as to what went on here at the white house today, who to expect from the president and his team. that is always a possibility. that has not been ruled ought today. but really no indication at this point as to whether or not the president might come out. you heard what he said yesterday. it was a very cautious and brief statement. that was backed up by a real diplomatic threat by this administration when they said later on in the evening that the u.s. might not go to the g 8 as a result of what's happening in the ukraine. at this point we don't have any indication. >> you'll be staying there at least until they tell us that there's nothing else going to be happening over there at the white house. very familiar with that drill. all right, jim acosta, thanks very much. john mccain spoke out today on the situation in ukraine saying he's worried the russian military presence in crimea which of course is part of ukraine could spread to more parts of the country. joining us now on the phone is
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josh rogan, senior national correspondent for the daily beast. you had a chance to speak with senator mccain. what did he tell you about this escalating deterioration in ukraine? >> reporter: yes, thanks, wolf. i've just finished a phone conversation with john mccain. this is new information first on cnn. in his statement he said that america has several serious policy options to confront vladimir putin's aggression in the ukraine. in our phone call he laid out what he thought those options were. he believes first of all the congress and administration should work together to use a law already on the books which allows the u.s. to sanction russian human rights violators. john mccain believes that law should be applied to senior russian leadership and that the invasion of ukraine as he terms it should be considered a human rights violation. that would immediately allow the united states to sanction
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russian leaders, institute visa bans, asset freezes and other punitive measures. john mccain believes that president obama's threat not to attend the g 8 summit in june in sochi is not strong enough and that this should be expanded and that russia should be disinvited from a series of high level multilateral meetings over the course of the coming months. third, john mccain believes that the u.s. and nato should work together to immediately move to increase -- to speed up the process to bring ukraine and also russian neighbor georgia which it invaded in 2008 into nato by speeding them towards something called map status. a precursor to membership in nato. fourth he believes that the united states should reverse its decision which it made unilaterally two years ago to halt missile defense plans in eastern europe. that was largely seen as a concession to the russians while
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the u.s.-russian reset was ongoing. and that's a decision that mccain thinks was wrong headed, has always thought was wrong headed. now a clear signal could be sent to the russians if the u.s. went forward with those missile defense plans in europe which vladimir putin is strenuously objecting to. >> two specific recommendations from john mccain. he told me he thought the president was in his words a bit naive when it comes to putin and what he's up to. thanks very much for that. the situation in ukraine is clearly a very dangerous situation right now. dangerous moment for u.s.-russia relations, what's going on in ukraine. we're going to continue to watch what's going on. that's it for me. thanks very much for joining us. i'm wolf blitzer, "news room" continues after a short break with jim sciutto. in 30 minutes, can a newborn have three parents? join dr. sanjay gupta for "sanjay gupta m.d." at 4:00 p.m.
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eastern. first he introduces us to a young violinist who overcame a rare disease. ♪ >> alison began playing the violin when she was just seven years old. at 16, the high school junior and student at the cleveland institute of music started to feel exhausted. then she had difficulty breathing. >> i couldn't perform everyday tasks. i couldn't remember how to dial the phone. >> she was misdiagnosed with bronchitis and then pneumonia. a few months later she was rushed to the hospital coughing up blood from a lung hemorrhage. she spent 2 1/2 weeks then in an induced coma. >> they weren't sure if i was going to live. >> when she finally left the hospital, doctors still didn't know what was wrong with her. >> they sent me to the cleveland clinic where i was diagnosed with wagner's granulomatosis. >> which causes inflame makes of the blood vest sells. throughout several relapses she never gave up on her music.
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she started violin for vasculitis and plans to travel to all 50 states telling her story and raising awareness for this disease. last october came an invitation to joint akron symphony. >> it feels really really neat, knowing that i overcame all of this and i'm still able to play. >> dr. sanjay gupta, cnn, reporting. comcast brought millions of people closer
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you are in the news room. i'm jim sciutto in today for don lemon. just one message coming out of the united nations, nato and the white house today. it is for russia. and that message is slow down and back off. i'm talk about things that are moving very fast in ukraine this weekend. it appears that russia is eager to get a toe hold in part of ukraine where the people are mostly of russian descent. while the rest of the country is offbalance from protests which already cost a russian ally his
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job. ukraine is oug-- today the russian parliament voted to send troops inside ukraine saying russian people and military interests there need to be protected. the head of the u.n. calling for calm and dialogue. nato leaders warning russia to respect ukraine's borders. and while all this is happening, people who support russia are fighting with people who do not. on the streets of crimea and in the capital of ukraine, kiev. we're live right now in ukraine's crimea region in the main city there of simfarapol. cnn's diana magnay is there and also in washington our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. diana, you're on the ground there right in the middle of it. we're hearing reports that russian troops are already there. we've been hearing that from u.s. officials yesterday, even reports from a ukraine official at the u.n. that those numbers
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of russian troops might have risen as high as 15,000. do you see any evidence, one, of russian forces and of russian forces in numbers like that? >> reporter: well, there certainly seems to be a very heavy military presence at this capital of crimea. troops in going fatigues, heavily armed and in control of the government facilities, patrolling the streets. they are all over the place. it is difficult to believe that they are anything other than russian, but they do not wear any kind of military insignia. they are trying their best to hide their identities. that said, jim, i did manage to get an answer from one of them, a young guy who i spoke to today. and i said, where are you from? he said, i'm from russia. so take that for what you will. the russian president says that there are no russian boots on the ground outside of russia's military bases in sebastapol.
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from what i've seen on the streets, it's difficult to assess who these people might be if they're not taking their orders from russia. >> as u.s. officials have been telling us since yesterday they're confident those forces on the ground there are russian, under russian direction. i have to ask you as we see those pictures, these are armed soldiers, they have magazines in their automatic weapons. they're wearing masks. what is the reaction of people on the ground? this has to be a destabilizing, a scary presence if you are a resident of that area. what's been the reaction to this show of force by russia? >> reporter: well, actually that's what's surprising. we know that this has a majority of ethnic russians. but really today there was a sense of jubilation on the streets. there was a whole series of pro-russian demonstrations going on around this city. people chanting "russia russia"
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the name of the hated rye cross police disbanded last wednesday. they were chanted as heroes on the streets of the city today. and it does give you the sort of feeling that what is going on here is that these military forces, alongside pro-russian self-organized units, are massaging this sort of political process and the situation in crimea so that the pro-russian agenda is consolidated ahead of a referendum at the end of this month which the new premiere has just announced when crimea will decide whether or not to become a separatist state. so to follow the logical conclusion from all of that, it would appear as though that is something that russia is behind, jim. >> well, that's exactly something we've been worried about is that clash of those very divided cultures and ethnicities there in ukraine. the pro-russian, pro-ukranian and alarming to see that take place right now. thanks very much to diana magnay. right now we are waiting for
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president obama's response to all this in ukraine, including the russian parliament voting to allow russian president vladimir putin to send troops, boots on the ground inside ukraine. we're going to go now to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, is there any sign, signal that the president is going to make a statement today in response to that vote in the russian parliament? >> reporter: jim, we're waiting just as you're waiting to see if the president will respond to today's developments. we can tell you that a national security meeting was held here at the white house earlier today as you know, jim, and as we've been showing our viewers all day long. we do have video of some of those top national security officials leaving the white house, defense secretary chuck hagel, the director of national intelligence james clapper, martin dempsey chairman of the joint chiefs and john brennan, director of of the cia. according to a senior administration official the president did not attend that meeting. he was briefing by his national
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security adviser susan rice and other top national security officials. but that national security meeting that occurred at the white house was on ukraine, policy options according to the senior administration official. we can also report we've just learned in the last couple of minutes that vice president biden joined that national security meeting via video conference. so the vice president is also involved in this. as you know, jim, he is a very top close official to the president when it comes to national security questions, big foreign policy questions such as what is unfolding in ukraine. i did go back to a national or senior administration official to ask why the president was not involved in today's meeting. and this official would only say it's just not unusual for the president not to be there. he was as this official said briefed by his national security adviser. so they're watching these developments. no official response from the president yet as to what's occurred today, jim. >> well jim, you've been at the white house a long time. is it indeed unusual for the president not to take part in a meeting in the situation room, i imagine, when you have such a
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tense situation overseas and with such remarkable developments today? >> reporter: well, they have meetings as you know, jim, like this quite often. the president has had a lot of foreign policy crises on his plate. i remember being here on a weekend when the principals as they call it did meet on the situation in syria. and you saw the president. you saw the rest of his top national security team in the situation room. the white house would release a photo later in the day confirming all of this. we don't anticipate that at this point because the president was in fact not involved in this meeting. and it's interesting. i did run into senior counselor to the president john podesta here at the white house giving his family a tour of the west wing. he's obviously here very busy monday through friday but here on a saturday. just caught up to him very briefly. asked him whether or not what is happening right you in ukraine is a test for this relationship between president obama and president putin. the u.s. and russia. it seems like an obvious question. he responded by saying that goes
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withsaying. so they're well aware, they know that maybe president put ten is playing this a little bit differently than the president of the united states. perhaps putin does see this as an international chess game as the president of the united states has said he does not want this to be seen as. secretary of state john kerry as you know said he doesn't want this to be rocky iv. speculating here, jim, can't say that officials are telling me this. but perhaps the president is not getting as engaged, was not as involved in that meeting today perhaps as much as people might expect because they don't want to give that image. they don't want to give that across as if the president is somehow being held hostage by what vladimir putin is doing every move that he's making out there on the world stage. but the president they say here at the white house is keeping up to speed on the situation in ukraine through his national security team, jim. >> well thanks, jim. another update we'll be looking for shortly, i imagine, is when the president if the president speaks again with vladimir putin as he did on friday. we do know that secretary of state john kerry spoke a short time ago today with the ukranian
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president, keeping those lines of communication open. certainly. we have an update just in right now. the u.n. security council is going to an open televised session on this subject of the ukraine. we're going to take you there when that starts. in the meantime, russia's decision not only adds more strain to an already tense relationship with the u.s., but it could also impact the situation in syria. we explain how right after this. [ female announcer ] a classic macaroni & cheese from stouffer's starts with freshly-made pasta, and 100% real cheddar cheese. but what makes stouffer's mac n' cheese best of all. that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care for you or your family.
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welcome back. you're look now at a live picture inside the u.n. security council session to discuss the crisis in ukraine. we heard of some stumbles earlier in the afternoon when they were struggling even just to agree on the format for these talks. we'll be taking you there later in this hour to see how that discussion goes forward. russia, remember, a seat at the table in the u.n. security council along with the united states. all week russian president vladimir putin has said russia
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was not planning to violate ukraine's sovereignty. yet today he asked his lawmakers to sign off on sending troops into the ukraine. and they voted unanimously to give him that right. plus there have been images like this. surveillance video shows armed men storming a government building in crimea. it's still not clear who they're working for, but if they are linked to russia as ukranian officials say, it's another example of how russia's official communication with the united states is not matching what's happening on the ground. and that growing disconnect between russia and the u.s. may go beyond just eastern europe. joining me now is cnn's elise lavin, our foreign affairs reporter at the state department. so much on the table right now. nuclear weapons with iran, the situation in syria. how does russia defying the u.s. on ukraine so publicly, how does it affect those other very key issues that we need russia's
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help on? syria first and iran? >> reporter: well, jim, i think that the u.s. and russia have kind of demonstrated over the years that even in their areas of tension they're able to kind of compartmentalize and work together when it's really needed. i think you have to see what's going to happen over the next couple of days. clearly the syria issue i think is going to suffer for the mere fact that this ukraine issue is an existential issue for russia. that's going to be all consuming right now. you have to see how that plays out. if the escalations are able to calm down, if the tensions are able to be smoothed out a little bit, and russia is able to make some kind of accommodation and see some kind of national unity government in ukraine where there are russian influences protected and interests protected, i think maybe you might see russia calm down a little bit, be able to focus on syria. you have a little breathing room right now with the u.n. security council resolution on syria and those peace talks stumbling.
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so there's a little bit of time right now to focus just on ukraine. but if this were to drag out, i could see a situation where russia would say listen, i'm not really willing to push syria, bashar al assad, not really willing to make it a priority to get that human tearian acquisition in. so i think syria could suffer in the next couple of months. on iran i don't really see any lack of cooperation. it's really in russia's interests to make sure that their commercial interests are protected in iran. it's in their interests to have a nuclear deal. and even in the height of tensions between the u.s. and russia on syria, they've been able to work on iran. so i see syria suffering a little bit more than iran at this point. >> it shows the intensive importance of keeping the lines of communication certainly on the crisis in syria, ukraine exchanging so quickly. on these other issues that are continuing issues, syria and iran. briefly now i want to bring in our own richard roth who is at the u.n. as this u.n. security council meeting gets set to start, discussing ukraine. richard, what are you hearing now? are they under way? is there any substantive
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discussion going on now? >> reporter: jim, we're going to see probably some fiery remarks on this unfolding crisis in crimea. yes, the u.n. is known critically as a talk shop. this time occasionally people appreciate the chance to at least vent, get some thoughts on the table. they're taking it from the closed door meeting, the second in two days, to now this open historic security council chamber. we are very likely to hear ukraine and russia be the main sparting partners in this diplomat ill dic duel. there will be no -- you'll hear several speeches including condemnation of what's happening. trying to send warnings to mr. putin who the secretary general is supposed to have talked to sometime today still hasn't happened the last time we checked. there'll be some preliminary announcements at the beginning of the session. yesterday u.s. ambassador samantha powers said there should be an international mediation mission that should go to the region.
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russia said it didn't mind as long as the proper preparations are there. but there's been no talk of that here. one representative of the ukraine mission without any corroboration said there are now 15,000 russian troops in crimea. but we've always in the past been leery of statistics made by diplomats here far away from any battlefield. we will likely hear the ambassador possibly say that in his remarks. you have the current president of the security council for this month, first day on the job, the ambassador from luxembourg who will bring the meeting to order with some preliminary remarks, jim. >> richard, a lot of of our focus now is focusing on consequences. president obama said yesterday there will be costs for russia's actions in the ukraine. that's even before today's events where the russian parliament gave president putin the right to send troops into all of ukraine. in the u.n. in light of that russian veto, what can the u.n., the u.n. security council do in terms of raising costs for russia? is there anything they can do?
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you mentioned they have the veto or is it really as you say just a place to vent? >> reporter: i think remarks will be made. but i think as you have hinted and said in other reports, the diplomat action will take place elsewhere with strong groups, whether it's lack of attendance at a g 8 meeting, sanctions, whether it's going to be condemnation. are going to get it on the table here. but while russia signeded on to some statement calling for calm and stability, it is rather meaningless. they would block any substantive action. but we've seen it with kosovo and other crises around the world, countries act so-called coalition of the willing whether diplomatically or militarily and bypass the u.n. itself. it makes the ukraine feel good. many countries still rely on the u.n. if for anything just to be heard. ukraine will get its chance on the international stage right now. >> we're going to go now to that. the session is under way. let's have a listen inside the u.n. security council. >> translator: addressed to the
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president of the security council. the agenda is adopted. in accordance with rule 37 of the council's provisional rules of procedure, i invite the representative of ukraine to participate in this meeting. it is so decided. the security council will now begin its consideration of item 2 of the agenda. i welcome the deputy secretary general, his excellency mr. john arielson and i give him the floor. >> madam president, members of the security council, since the briefing yesterday by assistant secretary fernandez toronko to this council, there have been reports of continued serious developments in ukraine. in crimea, key sites such as blic buildings, including the
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regional parliament, reportedly continued to be blocked by unidentified armed men. there are further reports of armed personnel taking control of regional administration buildings in several cities in the east and south of ukraine. the new crimean prime minister serg serg ser atsenov appealed to vladimir putin to insist on security in the region of crimea. in the same statement he announced he was taking control of security in crimea. and i quote on a temporary basis. he told all security personnel to declare allegiance to him rather than to the authorities of kiev. following the reported deployment of additional russian troops and armored vehicles to
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crimea. the russia's federation upper parliament today approved a request from president putin for russian forces to be used in ukraine and i quote pending the normalization of the public and political situation in that country end quote. at the same time, in this fluid situation, however, there are some encouraging signs. one of them is the reported announcement from kiev just now about the intention to broaden the government to include representatives from eastern ukraine. we also are noting that tcalls for dialogue by all interested parties inside and outside of ukraine appear to be resonating. referring to the security council discussions yesterday about robert series fact finding mission, he was in touch with the authorities of the crimea.
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in his statement today, siri noted if he had traveled to crimea he would have conveyed on behalf of the secretary general a message for all to calm down the situation and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate an already tense environment. robert siri will travel to geneva today where he will brief the secretary general on his mission to ukraine and discuss further possible steps. the secretary general is gravely concerned that the situation has further deteriorated since yesterday's meeting of the council. in this regard, let me reiterate the secretary general's important messages conveyed in his statement of today. and i quote, "the secretary general continues to closely follow the seriously and rapidly unfolding events in ukraine, including developments in crimea, and is gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation. the secretary general reiterates his call for the full respect for and preservation of the
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independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of ukraine. he calls for an immediate restoration of calm and direct dialogue between all concerned to solve the current crisis. the secretary general will be speaking with president vladimir putin of russia shortly about the situation in ukraine" unquote. let me say in closing, at this crucial moment it is important to recall the mission of this organization, to always search for peaceful settlements of dispute. this is the essence of the u.n. charter and should serve as our primary guide in this situation. now is the time for cool heads to prevail. thank you. >> translator: i thank the deputy secretary general for his briefing, and i now give the floor to the representative of
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ukrain ukraine. >> madam president, distinguished members of the security council, deputy secretary general, mr. eliason, excellencies, colleagues, the media, thank you very much for agreeing to have this meeting on such a short notice. mr. eliason, thank you for your comments, and thank you for presenting us the statement of the secretary general which is very promising. what i am going to state now was stoe sent to all the nations this afternoon including the recent information involving developments in ukraine and mostly in crimea. the situation continues to deteriorate. as i told you yesterday, the russian troops had illegally entered the territory of ukraine in the crimean peninsula on the
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reason to protect russian-speaking population of ukraine. a few hours ago, the upper house of russian parliament, council federation, has unanimously authorized the use of military force against ukraine upon request of the president of russian federation vladimir putin. but the troops are already there. and their number is increasing every coming hour. this action by the russian federation constitutes an act of aggression against the state of ukraine. a severe violation of international law posing a serious threat to sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country as well as peace and stability in the whole region. the russian federation doesn't comply with its obligations as state guaranotor of ukraine to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial
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integrity of ukraine. it is a dangerous challenge to the very principle of the [ inaudible ]. russia officially rejected ukrainen proposal to hold immediate bilateral consultations under article 7 on the treat treaty of 1997. russian federation brutally violated the basic principles of charter of the united nations, of member states to refrain from threat or use the force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. the announced military intervention of the ukraine, the government has requested to call this session of the security council. they call upon the security council to do everything they can to stop this aggression.
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ukraine asks the guaranotor states to prevent intervention. we are calling for monitoring with regard to the russian federation. we urge all member states of the united nations to demonstrate solidarity with the ukrainen nation to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, to protect the very basic principles of the united nations. currently brutally violated by a permanent state -- permanent member of the security council. thank you, madam president. thank you for your attention. >> translator: i thank the representative of the ukraine for his statement, and i now give the floor to members of the security council. i give the floor to the representative of russian federation. >> thank you, madam president.
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first of all, i would like to thank my -- express my sympathy to you because under your presidency in just the two hours we wasted on discussing the format for this meeting, and we agreed that in an open format only three people would speak. mr. eliason, my ukranian colleague, and the prime represent of the russian federation. as i understand, some of the colleagues of the security council already intend to break with this. but what can you do? went there's a game without rules? i would like to thank mr. eliason for his briefing and support the idea that he ended on, the idea that in this situation cooler heads must prevail. unfortunately, i must note that my ukranian colleague did not go for that, and in his speech what i heard was a number of terms. we can't agree with them.
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that's all. characterizing the situation in ukraine and the actions of the russian federation. the colleagues we discussed the crisis. a crisis which should not have taken place. in order for it to occur, there was no objective reason for it to happen. there was and there still is our fraternal country of ukraine, our neighbor. if you talk about this in terms of the last fall situation, the democratically legally elected president mr. yanukovych, he is relying on the parliamentary majority in a democratically elected parliament. truly, the country is dealing with serious economic challenges, and with the leadership of ukraine they have serious decisions to make. in particular they need to make a decision whether they will join or will they sign an
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agreement of association with you. this is a complex decision. one of the mistakes of the ukranian leadership maybe was the fact that at the last minute they realized that that agreement on association that was being proposed by brussels could have significant economic consequences for ukraine. in these conditions, the ukranian leadership, the president, took a decision which is fully constitutional, and it fully meets the prerogatives of the head of any state to refrain, pull back at the moment, from signing an agreement on association with the e.u. that didn't mean, as many have said that, there was a full repudiation of european orientation, just that he had to weigh the circumstances that had come together at that time. so i repeat, that was a decision which was fully within the legitimate prerogatives of the

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